Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Amazing Potatoes

I think I've mentioned here my undying love for potatoes. I can eat them baked, boiled, fried, roasted, and mashed and never ever get tired of them so it's a wonder I ever come up with anything new in the potato department. Why bother when there are already so many fine ways to cook a spud?

The other night I came home from work to a small pile of baked potatoes awaiting me. Normally I would have been happy to eat them just like that. I love to make hash browns with leftover baked potatoes, too. But I was craving something complex and spicy and thus a new dish was born. Actually, it's probably not a new dish at all. I imagine there are variations of this all over India and they're probably even tastier. Nonetheless I'll call this my own creation since I was improvising away with nary an Indian cookbook in sight.

And I have to say--I struck gold! This is one of those dishes that has everything I need: heat, color, and a savory blend of spices that's hard to resist. But it's not a long simmered curry with multiple steps and stages. If you have baked potatoes on hand you can have this on your plate in under half an hour. And oh how happy you'll be.Two slightly odd ingredients which I hope won't put you off. First: tamarind concentrate. I have something called Tamicon which isn't hard to find in Asian groceries. It's thick like molasses but with a serious tang to it. If you can't find any near you, I imagine a good squeeze of lemon would give you the sour you need for this dish. Or you could just quickly order a jar from Amazon!

The other thing you'll need is fresh curry leaves. Or fresh curry leaves that have been frozen. Any Indian market should have them and here in Portland I am delighted to report that they can be found on the east side at Fubonn on SE 82nd. I am so happy to have these available a few blocks from where I work as before I had to make a 30 mile round trip journey in search of curry leaves. Which actually seemed quite reasonable. Once you start cooking with then you'll find them irreplaceable as they add a distinctive savory flavor to any dish. Buy a bunch and when you get home, rinse the leaves, shake them dry, then strip the leaves from the stems. Packed in a heavy ziplock bag they'll keep in the freezer for months.

You'll find the recipe here. I have eaten these heavenly potatoes twice this week with a big dollop of good yogurt. And I've been very happy. I hope you love them, too.

Let me know. Please? There has been rather a dearth of comments here at Magpie Eats and I am wondering if anyone is out there and trying my food.


Ali said...

I'm out here, salivating over your food, does that count? It's soup from the Safeway deli for dinner here tonight and turkey tomorrow but I did just buy 5 pounds of potatoes so I very well may try this or some variation of it over the weekend. Will let you know if I do!

Magpie Ima said...

Thanks for letting me know you're out there, Alison. And I'd be happy to share some of the funkier ingredients with you!

ElizO said...

Yum, this looks delicious! I'll try it! For the record, your mac and cheese and banana-oat-coconut cookies are staples at my house.

Elizabeth said...

Now I've got some time on my hands....A&P is over, the holidays are *almost* over, and it's cold out and I'll be wanting to put time into cooking. I'm making out my menu for this week and thought to look here for inspiration! I might just make these potatoes. yum!

Elizabeth said...

The verdict: yummm! I made them last night along with the dosas from Where's My Bureka? and had them with yogurt, and everyone enjoyed! Well, except for my picky eater who didn't eat much of anything yesterday. :-P But you know about those....

I am eating more potatoes this morning for breakfast with yogurt. Delish.

Mine didn't come out looking like yours, though, more mushy. Maybe because I didn't let the potatoes cool after baking, which I'll do anyway next time because of ouch! burnt fingers. Oh, and I didn't ever make it to get any curry leaves so I used curry powder....I've never used curry leaves, but if you can freeze them I can just buy them next time I'm at Fubonn and keep them in the freezer.